I thought I would make another attempt at Kathy’s beautiful bluebird photo used in yesterday’s artwork done in Inktense watercolor pencils. This time, I used my full (mostly M. Graham) watercolor palette and a #2 round Isabey Kolinsky sable (this is a well-made, affordable line of sable brushes that I really enjoy.) I began with a painting I had done previously and didn’t love, and was (happily!) able to rinse completely back to the white Aquabord surface. (As a watercolor beginner, I really love this very forgiving surface!)
I tried a few things with this painting that I’ve never tried before:
- I didn’t draw the bluebird on my surface first, just went right in with the paint, as I’ve worked with this reference photo recently.
- I began with a dry surface, which I have never tried yet with the Aquabord (and rarely try even on paper).
- As mentioned, I began by rinsing off a painting I’d created over a month ago, and was still able to rinse back to the original white (wasn’t sure if that would work after so much time had passed.)
Aquabord is a very forgiving surface, and after this experience, I think that every watercolorist should try it at least once. Here’s why:
- I got a phone call in the middle of this painting. If I had been working with paper, I wouldn’t have been able to take that call, because I would most likely have lost the ability to blend colors, would have had hard edges, etc. With Aquabord, I had those problems, but they were easily corrected with a damp brush.
- If at any time, you’re unhappy with the results, just rinse off the painting. Ampersand, the manufacturer, doesn’t recommend submerging the surface (because you risk warping the hardboard surface underneath). They suggest taking a damp brush or rag (and damp Q-tips work great too) to lift off mistakes. Personally, I have rinsed Aquabord under running water multiple times without a problem. I was listening to a video on Artist’s Network TV recently (can’t remember the artist, sorry) and that artist does it as well! I just use my thumb in gentle, circular motions under the running faucet, and in about five minutes, I am back to a clean, white surface. Yes, even with staining pigments! Not sure how you can beat that in the world of watercolor.
- You don’t have to even think about it buckling, warping, etc. It will remain flat as a board (ha ha) no matter how much water you throw at it.
- For the artist working outdoors, here is a surface that won’t blow away, and doesn’t have to be stretched or taped down.
- For the artist on a budget, no more worries about wasting expensive watercolor paper when the results aren’t what you were aiming for. All you have to do is rinse the surface, or correct it with a soft, damp Q-tip, paper towel, etc. Very easily corrected, I might add.
- If I were a skilled painter, I think it would be much easier to get dynamite results with Aquabord vs. watercolor paper.
Those are my thoughts, and I would love to get your feedback about this surface! (Note: As a Blick affiliate, purchases from these links will help to support my site.) World Watercolor Month starts tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to it! I hope you are too. The July edition of Draw A Bird Day is Friday, July 8! I hope you’ll join us! Peace and puddles of paint to all!